Final preparations are underway for the annual Currahee Military Weekend.
The 12th annual Currahee Military Weekend takes place today through Sunday.
The annual event honors the men who trained at Camp Toccoa at the foot of Currahee Mountain to become paratroopers during World War II.
Stephens County Historical Society Executive Director Brenda Carlan said that veterans will begin arriving today.
“The veterans visit the schools and the schools are excited about that,” said Carlan. “They enjoy them coming each year.”
Also taking place today is the annual Chamber of Commerce BBQ at the First Baptist Church of Toccoa from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and a book signing at the Mitchell Allen Meeting Room in the historic train depot in downtown Toccoa from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Tonight, Carlan said the activity moves out to the Toccoa-Stephens County Airport for the USO Hangar Dance from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
“It will be kind of cool to see the old (hangar) building come back to life with big band music and people having a good time,” said Carlan.
Tickets are $15 at the door for the Hangar Dance.
Saturday starts off with the Currahee Challenge run/walk at Currahee Mountain.
Then, just before 11 a.m., a parachute team will descend over downtown Toccoa.
Carlan said that jump will kick off the veterans’ parade through downtown Toccoa.
“It will showcase the Camp Toccoa men and some of our local veterans also participate in the parade,” said Carlan. “Our Junior ROTC (participates) and we are always glad to have them back. We are also going to have approximately 150 new recruits in the parade.”
The parade will conclude at the downtown train depot, where opening ceremonies will begin at 11:30 a.m.
Georgia Adjutant General Jim Butterworth will speak at the opening ceremonies.
In addition, Carlan said that the 150 new recruits will receive a special honor.
“These young recruits will actually be inducted in by one of our Camp Toccoa men that will be here for the weekend,” said Carlan.
On Saturday night, the annual banquet and auction will take place at the Georgia Baptist Conference Center.
Carlan said this year’s speaker is Retired Major General James Guest.
Everything wraps up Sunday with the remembrance service at 8:30 a.m. at Currahee Mountain.
Carlan said everyone is encouraged to attend this weekend’s activities.
“We look forward to this every year, but it is kind of bittersweet,” said Carlan. “We get more people coming, but sadly we lose veterans every year. You never know when the last opportunity is to say ‘thank you’.”
Other activities during the weekend include helicopter rides and a memorabilia show. In addition, the Currahee Military Museum at the train depot will be open.